The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/01/13 at 11:02 AM ET
The Grand Rapids Griffins will receive their Calder Cup Championship rings in short order, and the fact that the team chose to retain veteran players Nathan Paetsch, Brennan Evans, Triston Grant and Jeff Hoggan--despite slim-to-nil chances of the latter three playing for the team's NHL affiliate--speaks both to the team's ability to convince veterans to "buy in" and the character of the players they've re-signed.
The latter suggestion's the most accurate assessment of Hoggan's situation, and the Griffins' captain spoke with the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about his decision to turn down NHL offers for the sake of remaining with the team he led to the AHL's summit:
It took Hoggan less than a month to confirm what he felt all along. He signed a two-year contract in July to remain in Grand Rapids as he declined other opportunities, including Phoenix, which could have held a chance to play again in the NHL.
“To have the season we had and to be asked to come back and get a chance to get two more years out of the game, that was just great to me,” Hoggan said. “It was really nice to have other teams interested in me, and it was fun to take a look, but this is the right place for me.”
Rather than leave, Hoggan is ready to resume his role as a leader, playmaker and even elder statesman. He has nearly 16 years on Martin Frk, the Griffins’ youngest player, who doesn’t turn 20 until Saturday.
Hoggan was not coveted just for his leadership. Last season, he had his second-most productive seasons since he began his pro career in 2001. He was fourth on the team in scoring with 45 points (20-25-45) and added 12 more in the playoffs (5-7-12). He also played in all 100 games of the regular season and playoffs.
Not bad for someone who joined the Griffins last season on a tryout and didn’t sign a contract until October, 2012. He had spent the previous two seasons playing in Germany (Wolfsburg and Hannover) and wasn’t sure how productive he would be.
It proved to be one of the best moves of his career. He was named captain before the start of the season, and it just kept improving from there as the Griffins put a big stamp on three previous seasons without a playoff appearance.
“Everything that happened, I was just so fortunate to be a part of it,” Hoggan said. “I mean, really, you couldn’t have scripted it out any better.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.